Domestic Abuse in Payne County Involves Patterns of Abuse
Domestic abuse in Payne County can be thought of as a pattern of interactions that can often lead to violence within a family or extended family. It often involves a cycle of tension, violence, and regret. Domestic abuse can affect every member of a household whether they are a direct victim or not. This often leads to police intervention, restraining orders, and multiple convictions. Felony domestic abuse is treated seriously in Payne County, Oklahoma.
When emotions run high, it can result in fabricated accusations and exaggerated stories on one hand, and escalating violence when ignored, on the other. Repeated charges can result in a charge of felony domestic abuse. An experienced Payne County family law attorney can help a family in crisis by knowing when and how to intercede and get help for the family to break the cycle of domestic abuse.
Understanding the Law Around Domestic Abuse
Issues of domestic abuse often give rise to restraining or protective orders. For those purposes, domestic abuse is defined as an act of physical harm or the threat of immediate physical harm committed by an adult, emancipated minor, or a minor child who is 13 years or older, against another adult or minor who is a family or household member or who is or was in a dating relationship with the person harmed or threatened. Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 60.1 This law is part of Oklahoma’s Protection from Domestic Abuse Act.
Sometimes though, domestic abuse is charged as an assault and battery. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 644. Under Oklahoma law, an assault or battery committed against a family member, including any of the following, can be treated as either a misdemeanor (first offense) or a felony:
- a current or former spouse,
- a current spouse of a former spouse,
- a former spouse of a current spouse,
- a foster parent,
- a child,
- a person otherwise related by blood or marriage,
- a current or former dating partner,
- an individual with whom the defendant has had a child,
- a former housemate, or
- a current housemate.
When charged as a felony, a conviction can mean up to four years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Even a misdemeanor can mean up to 1 year in county jail as well as a fine.
Additional Situations of Felony Domestic Abuse
There are situations in which a conviction, even a first conviction, is treated as a felony.
For example, when a dangerous weapon is involved, the matter is treated as a felony. Domestic assault and battery with a deadly weapon is a felony with a potential life sentence. Using strangulation against a domestic relation can be a felony crime, punishable by one to three years in prison, a fine of up to $3,000, or both for a first conviction. Subsequent convictions are punishable by 3 to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 644.
Repeated Incidents and Escalating Violence in Felony Domestic Abuse
In the case of multiple arrests or a pattern of prior abuse, the prosecution may seek up to 10 years in prison in addition to fines. A pattern of prior abuse can be shown with as little as 2 prior incidents, including the incident that the current precipitated charges. This can be proven by arrest records, witness statements, or victim testimony. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 644.1
An assault with a sharp or dangerous weapon can escalate prison time. Shooting a domestic relation can mean a life term in prison if convicted.
Pregnancy is another complicating factor. A first offense against a pregnant woman knowing of the pregnancy is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in jail. Subsequent incidents are felonies punishable by a prison term of at least 10 years.
A Suspended or Deferred Sentence May be Possible
Early intervention can make a big difference in domestic abuse cases and outcomes. A Payne County court may order a deferred or suspended sentence, especially in initial convictions. A deferred sentence allows the court to delay proceedings for up to 10 years without entering a judgment of guilt, and to dismiss the case if the defendant complies with certain court conditions. This allows a person to obtain needed crisis management and anger management skills and often, avoid jail.
A suspended sentence allows the defendant to serve some or all of his or her sentence on probation as long as the defendant follows all the rules set forth in probation. Both of these tools can be more helpful than prison or jail time.
Conditions may include compliance with a restraining order, anger management classes, attendance at substance abuse classes, individual therapy, or couples counseling in addition to probation and community service.
If you or a loved one are facing domestic abuse charges, it is important to get the help of an experienced Payne County family law attorney as soon as possible. This is especially true if you are facing felony domestic abuse charges. Your attorney can help you navigate the process and afford you the best opportunity to successfully resolve domestic abuse charges.
Free Consultation with a Payne County Family Law Attorney
Getting the help you need can be crucial in domestic abuse cases. A Stillwater family law attorney who can assess your legal matters is just a phone call away. Let us see what we can do to help you through this process. Your first phone consultation is always free at Wirth Law Office in Stillwater: (405) 673-1600.
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